The insensitivity with which we treat our bovines shows a callousness which makes the brouhaha against cow-slaughter sound hollow. We need to care for the living before we can justifiably grieve about their death.
Actions, after all, are the real icons of sanctity and mere lip-service as veneration is nothing but an insult of the revered. Even symbolism should never be empty nor faith just a formal iteration.
I cannot convince another about the truth of my position without first being true to my own beliefs and I cannot condemn an agnostic without being a true adherent myself.
The ordeal faced by our cows has often caused me immense distress. Whether precariously roaming in heavy traffic or rummaging through filth to find food often swallowing plastic which causes slow painful death, these meek and gentle creatures are denied respect and veneration due to what is held sacred.
Condemned to live in unnatural environment and denied water, feed and veterinary attention their life is indeed brutal and, as Maneka Gandhi pointed out, they are kept in dark, dingy rooms with no ventilation. The harrowing tale of their existence can be described best in her words: “The flooring material of these dairies is concrete, often cracked and uneven. The edges of the broken concrete are sharp. They are covered with dung and urine on which these permanently tethered animals are forced to sit and stand. Imagine yourself sitting on a sharp edged uneven floor covered with your own faeces. When given an option, milch cattle sit and lie on soft floors. Consequently, their joints are bruised and tender and most of them become painfully lame.”
The licences under which dairy owners work impose obligations which are observed only in breach. Law requires adequate space for the animals, enough food, cleanliness, ventilation and care. This is not undertaken, endemic violations being continued with impunity. I have seen no political party take up this issue with any seriousness. Cows and calves are dying in hostile conditions they are being made to live in; they are not dying only when they are being butchered in slaughter-houses. How they are made to live, if that life is nasty and brutish for them, is as important a concern as being concerned about their being killed.
Yes the cow HAS religious significance. But will a higher spiritual truth steeped in virtues of compassion and reverence be debased into an empty ritual of mere war cry with complete disconnect between exhortations and actions? Let us stop playing with words and evolve a consciousness. We must change ourselves before we start reforming others. Faith, it cannot be forgotten, can never be passive if one’s belief is true. It is thus time we act to redeem our cows’ lives before working ourselves into frenzy over their death. If we feel they must not be killed are we not obliged guarantee them a life?
Elections are due in Delhi to the Municipal Corporation. This is one of the issues the Corporation can be seized with. Any commitment to a blueprint for the same? It is time the REAL Gaurakshaks step forward!